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  surfers : bob mctavish 

Bob McTavish
(14 May 1944 - )
Home: Mackay, Queensland
Beach : Gold Coast, Queensland
Competitive Record
Queensland Champion 1966?
Duke entrant 1967 (in place of Nat Young)
surfer, shaper, designer, writer, philosopher, windsurfer,


Joe Larkin Surfboards, Qld
Scott Dillon  Surfboards, Brookvale 1962
Hohnesse  Surfboards, Qld
Cord  Surfboards, Qld
Keyo  Surfboards, Brookvale 1965 -1967
Morey - Pope  Surfboards (USA)1968
San Juan  Surfboards, Byron Bay 1968
Bare NatureSurfboards, Byron Bay 1968.
Dale Surfboards, 73 Winbourne Road Brookvale 934965  1968.

Bob McTavish : Angourie, 1965.
Surfing World, Volume 7 Number 4, February 1966.

Bob McTavish, Main Beach Byron Bay, 1966.
Still from Paul Witzig's Hot Generation.

Bob McTavish, Maui, 1967.
 Still from The Fantastic Plastic Machine.
Surf International,
Volume 1 Number 11, see.

Bob McTavish Plastic Machine - Kevin Platt Model
Keyo Surfboards
19 Sydenham Road, Brookvale, Phone: 93 1699
Surf International,
Volume 1 Number 1, December 1967, page 4

Dale Surfboards: McTavish's Forms, circa 1968.

Surf International  Volume 1 Number 10 page 36.
October 1968 ?
Bennett Surfboards, Brookvale  1970 -1973
Julian Rocks Surfboards, Byron Bay  1973?
Bluebird  Surfboards, Byron Bay 1973
Sky  Surfboards, Byron Bay  1974 - 1984
Classic Surfboards by McTavish, around 1977
Pro Circuit Boards 1990 :molded epoxy boards.
McTavish  Surfboards, Byron Bay 1999
Illegal immigrant Hawaii 1962,
Conversion to Jehovah Witnesses 1973?

Catalogue Entries:
1966 # 36 Keyo Thin rail 1966 Keyo 
Malibu 9 ft 4 1/2"
Bob McTavish Tailor Made
1969 Dale 
Roundtail  7 ft 10'' 
1969 #69 Keyo Tracker by
              Bob McTavish 1968  Keyo
Tracker  7 ft
1971 Bennett - Bob McTavish Tri fin 6 ft 8 1971 Bennett 
Tri Fin 6 ft 8 ''
1972  Bluebird
Pintail, 7 ft 1''
# 215 
1979  Sky 
Flyer Pintail, 6 ft 10''
# 22 
1980 #23 Sky - Bob McTavish Mini Malibu 7 ft 2 1980 Sky 
Mini Mal  7ft
1999 #80 Bob McTavish Mini Mal 8 ft 3 1999  McTavish 
Mini Mal 8 ft 2''
Scott Dillon Pintail:

7ft 8'' 

Bob McTavish Surfboards
Po Box 47, Byron Bay.

Bob McTavish Surfboards
Byron Bay.
Classic by Bob McTavish
Byron Bay.

McTavish Quiver, June 2207.
From left to right:

Noosa Points from the Air.                                                                                                                                   Bob McTavish
Photos by George Greenough  - International Surfing v5n4 1969 September

Bob McTavish jams a top turn

Web Pages
McTavish Surfboards-Byron Bay, shaper Bob McTavish, since 1991
Mac-T Surfboards - softdeck/rail boards, manufactured by Outer Reef - soft foam beginners boards
Welcome to Surftech -high tech longboards with models by Dale Velzy, Reynolds Yater, Mickey Munoz, Robert August, Randy French,Wingnut, Michael Junod & Bob McTavish. California based
Santa Barbara Surfing - Tim Maddux's site centred on Santa Barbara, California.Featuring Rincon. George Greenough territory.
Snake's Surfing Page-personal page by Bruce Gabrielson on surfboard template history, coaching, surfboard repair, links, and wave pools. US. Alternative version of the Shortboard Revolution/development.
Nat Young : History,pages
Nat Young : Nat's Nat  , pages
Arhens : Good things Love Water , pages 102, 105 and 109.

Magazine Articles by Bob McTavish
Despite some dispute during the last 30 years about Bob McTavish's design ideas and his surfing performance ('the Spin-out King' - 1968), in the field of Surf Philosophy his contribution has been unequaled. An infectious sytle (reminiscent of the print contributions of Mickey Dora), intensive  analysis and over-the-top enthusiasm for his subject  has produced some excellent work. Examples of  magazine
articles include...

Bob McTavish : Bob McTavish is in this wave. He probably had a plan to get out of it.
[Photograph, black and white: Outrageous left barrell - no surfer/board visible,no credit]
Surfing World  January 1967 pp 15 to 21.
The definitive manual for longboard riding circa 1967 detailing turns (4), stalls (5), acceleration/speed (8) and a few tips (6).
Accompanying illustrative photographs (12, all of   Bob McTavish) includes the much reprinted Headless McTavish, Alexandria Headlands 1965 by John Witzig (Figure 2.Curl Acceleration Turn).

Bob McTavish : The Wild and Wonderful Days of Noosa , Part Two : National.
Surfing World March 1967 pp 18 to 25.
Anaysis/comtemplation of one break (70%) and one wave (other 30%).
Black and white photographs include Bob McTavish at National Park sequence, bottom turn, top turn, noseride. p 23.

Bob McTavish : On a bit of what's going on.
Surfing World August/September 1967 pp 37.
Performance and design circa 1967 (early-mid).
Notes Brian (sic, Bob) Simmons, George Greenough, Midget Farrelly, Ted Spencer and Bobby Brown.

Bob McTavish and Keyo Vee Bottom, 1967.

Still from the film, The Plastic Fantastic Machine?

Bob McTavish : Writing in the sun is a cinch.
SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol 1 No.1, 1967-8? p 9.
Performance, design and artificial reefs.
(The first three issues  featured a one page article each titled and by Bob McTavish, Nat Young and Midget Farrelly)

Bob McTavish : Ladies and gentlemen and children of the sun.
SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol. 1. No. 2 1967-8? p 9.
Ground breaking analysis of surfing performance that rejects the accepted approach (Detailed in Bob McTavish is in this wave. He probably had a plan to get out of it. See above): and  establishes the dictum "BREAK OUT FROM THE STRAIGHT LINE."..
In design this is achieved by: "Elimination of two feet of board."
Also note: "Farrelly, Spencer, Young, Platt and this kid were all riding considerably different styles of units at time of writing, six weeks before news-stands." - my emphasis.

Bob McTavish : A plastic drinking straw.
SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol. 1 No.3 1968 p 11.
Bob McTavish's account of the Honolua Bay sessions, featured in Paul Witig's Hot Generation and Eric Blum's The Fantastic Plastic Machine
Vee bottom experiment Honolua Bay, Maui December 1967
Detailed wave analysis, the 'borrowed' (from Phil Edwards) much quoted/often parodied "A GIANT CATHEDRAL AND I AM THERE."  and Dick Brewer shaping conference.
Also note the "reported" demise of Ted Spencer's Little Red: "Ted S. had his 8'9"pintail in one piece till it was two pieces."

Surf International
Vol. 1. No. 3  February 1968.

Page 27

[1] Bob McTavish is one of the best of the Australian surfers that are currently leading the sport of surfboard riding into the new realm of total per­formance.
A combination of highly technical boards, and an uncanny insight into the moods of waves, combine to create McTavish the surfer.
In the first of this sequence of three photo­graphs, McTavish carves a long driving turn down the face of the wave.

[3] After rising high into the curl, as the wave becomes more critical, McTavish drops with the breaking wave to set up the last section of the ride.

[4] McTavish puts his board into a fantastic turn at the base of the wave. The fin, par­tially clear of the water is clearly visible.
The whole side of the board is buried and it is on the rail, more than the fin that he makes the turn.

Another photograph from the sequence [2],
 published  of the same edition of
Surf International on page 34

Bob McTavish/Little Red, Honalua Bay
          '67. John Witzig.Click for Photo details.

Bob McTavish : California.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 6  May 1968  Pages 8 to 11.
Mat riding Rincon with George Greenough, California.
Hawaii and Sunset Beach on a Ryan Dotson Design 7'10" x 19".


Bob McTavish : Rincon.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 7  June 1968  pages 10 to 11.

Surfer, July 1968: McTavish and the Soft V Join Cooper at Morey-Pope.

McTavish : Indian Head.
Surf International  Volume 1 Number 9, pages 42-45, November 1968.

Bob McTavish : My Surfboard.
Surf International
Vol. 1. No. 9  November 1968  page 46.

Bob McTavish,
Indian Head, 1968.
page 45.

Bob McTavish : 23'' to 19''.
Surf International Vol. 1. No. 10  December 1968  page 9.

Chis Brock, George Greenough, Dog, Garry Keyes andBob McTavish.
Hose of Surf and Wilderness "factory," Palmer's Island, Yamba (Angourie), 1969.
Surfing World
Volume 12, Number 5, 1969.

McTavish Surfing Tools
House of Surf
Yamba NSW, 1969.

Image courtesy of Adrian, June 2018.

In response to an enquiry by Adrian in 2017, Bob McTavish wrote:
That sweet Country Soul …
I made it at Palmers Channel near Yamba in 1969.

I shaped, Gary Keyes glassed it, Chris Brock sanded.
I made the fin out of scrap.

Watch George Greenough's Innermost Limits you’ll see the old farm house factory, and us surfing those boards.
I have one too and value it highly..   Bob

Bob McTavish.
Wilderness Surfboards,
Angourie, 1969.
Surfing World
Volume 12, Number 5, 1969.
Photograph : ?

Bob McTavish : Alexandria Headlands 1953.
SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol. 3 No3 1970 pp 40 to 43.
Noosa Nostalgia 1963, with some notes about design and waves.

Bob McTavish  : "Well, California again. Didn't expect it, did enjoy it..."
SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol 1 No. 6 1970? pp 8 to11.
Mat riding Rincon with George Greenough, California.
Hawaii and Sunset Beach on a Ryan Dotson Design 7'10" x 19".

Morey-Pope Surfboards
Bob Cooper (USA) Blue Machine model,
Bob McTavish Tracker model


1969 Bob McTavish Power Dude and  Big Mac models

Several designs, the Tracker, the Big Mac, and the Power Dude
designed and shaped for Morey-Pope Surfboards, California.
Double page advertisement, Surfer March 1970:

Morey-Pope were generally renown for the quality of their advertising, notably their promotion of John Peck's Penetrator, Bob Cooper's Blue Machine and one unique full page ad that turned down from one corner to meet at a scale to represent different wave shapes.
However, it appears that while McTavish's Big Mac and Power Dude were considered advanced by Californian surfers, the radical humour of the advertising and the cartoon-like decals were not appreciated by some.

For example, one local later recalled (edited):
I remember going into George's (Draper) Surf Center in Huntington Beach and looking at a row of Big Mac's and Power Dudes (on consignment).
Larry Gordon (Gordon and Smith Surfboards) was with me and he asked Draper how the MPs were doing.
Draper says, "I've got a health food bar in the back and every kid that comes in here is dodging the draft, I don't need greasy hamburgers and drill sargents on the boards".
In 2010, "Dave" pasted this comment by Bob McTavish on swaylocks:
Quite a treat seeing an old Dude..
 I designed it in 1969 at Saticoy, east of Ventura, along with the Big Mac, two very hot boards for the time.
Richard Deese was the shaper, and Morey did a many hundreds of them.
The template was gunny, because the Big Mac was so hot-doggy and short, they were designed to be a pair.
- Bob.

Bob McTavish and Morey-Pope Big Mac and Power Dude, 1970.
Power Dude design with Morey-Pope & Co. decal, blank marked B.M., 1971.



A regular contributor to Australian magazines and familiar with the work of their staff,  McTavish probably had significant influence on the advertising copy and the decals; the artist, studio photographer and layout designer are unaccredited and unknown.
Strongly influenced (a total rip-off?) by Marvel's Super Surfer and Captain America, the bold promotion of the stars and stripes of was  topical and controversial, given the growing opposition to America's, and Australia's, ongoing conflict in Vietnam, further emphasised by the Power Dude decal.
The ad is infused with irony and humour; Fun Guns, Capt. McTavish was actually an Australian, the amateurish costume (bare chest, red tights, and sunglasses), and the stance.
Although adopting a classic riding pose, Bob is standing on his cape; a regular hazard avoided by all super-heroes and super-heroines.

An early commercial recognition of the idea of a quiver,
the boards were designed to be a pair, or rather two boards to cover a wide range of conditions, acknowledging that there was no ultimate perfect design for every wave.
The Power Dude was a refined version of the square-tailed Tracker of the late-1960s, shifting
the wide point back and refining the nose template; the Big Mac was a small wave board with a negative wide point and reminiscent of Dewey Weber's Pig board  of the late 1950s.

Ventura Surfshop crew, William Dennis Surfboards, Front Street, circa 1972.
Formerly the retail outlet for Morey-Pope Surfboards, and later Karl Pope's Wave corporation,
the Big Mac and the Power Dude were probably display left-overs from 1969.
See: Ventura Surfshop
In a Surfer Tip in 1971, McTavish detailed the two alternative designs as Streaks and Slugs.

Initially, the Big Mac (McDonald-McTavish) was actually the smaller of the two at about 6ft, the Power Dude plus 7ft.
The burger decal echoed Warhol's  Pop Art concept of the product as artefact, famously explored in his Campbell's Soup series of 1962; in the mid-1980s Warhol revisited the forms and motifs of his work from the 1960s, producing his own Hamburger .
Incidentally, in the early 1960s, in a series of plastic sculptures Claes Oldenburg created Floor Burger and Two Cheeseburgers, with Everything.
The Power Dude decal is in the comic-book style of Roy Lichtenstein.
It was rumoured that Morey-Pope was contacted by the legal representatives of Marvel Comics and McDonalds.

Subsequently, the controversial decals disappeared from advertising and apparently were no longer laminated to the boards, although the names remained, if some what confusingly.
There was now a little big Power Dude and a little Big Mac joined by the Fast Back Tracker, and all available from 5ft to 7ft.
the hard-edged down railer Fast Back Tracker was designed for breakaway releases and side slips*.
After brief period of popularity at the end of the 1960s, side-slipping disappeared from competitive surfing when it was effectively banned from the 1970 World Contest in Australia.
See Merv Larson: The New Adam and Midget Farrelly : Side Slipper and World Contest, 1970.

Morey-Pope Surfboards advertisement, Surfer July 1970.
(5' TO 7')
Jump back, Jack & dig the little Big Mac.
Space doubt!
And easy to digest.
Equipped with a magical magnetism to flow in any direction on any wave.
Don't put off tomorrow what you could be doing today!


(5' TO 7')
I'm the little big Power Dude made of millions of tiny little power dudes.
I've got hard down-rails turned up in the nose.
Get to gettin' with speed & power.
Think fast   React   Carve   Rush out!
Go ahead on ... he can't never catch you now!
(5' TO 7')
 I can dig being a shorter thicker hard-edged down railer for breakaway releases and side slips*
I'm a low ridin' fast back tracker offering you carving equipment fit for a Kingbee or whatever.
& Besides, a country girl's heart is truer!

Frozen Moments: captions for photographs in Tracks Volume 1 Number 1 1970.

Bob McTavish : Streaks and Slugs.  [Surfer Tips]
SURFER  Number Forty Five (Vol.No.?) December 1971? .
Discussion Pocket Rockets versus Eggs, designs and technique.

Bob McTavish : Pods for Primates Part 1 : A Personal History of Surfboard Design
Bob McTavish : Pods for Primates Part 2 : A Personal History of Surfboard Design
Tracks magazine 1972?
Reprinted in The Best of Tracks 1973?
Informative and inspirational, a major influence on this site.
#9p Bob McTavish Tri fin,
                Bennett's Factory 1971 Bob McTavish:
Huzza Wuzza
Bennett Surfboards, Brookvale.

May 1972, page 14.
Bob McTavish : Classic Design
Backdoor No. 12  December 1976, page 40.


Bob McTavish : Spoons 1977
Surfing World Volume 24 Number 4 January-February ?  1977, pages   64 - 65.

Bob McTavish : Modern Malibu
Surfer Vol 18  No.4  1977, pages 102 - 103.

Bob McTavish, electric planer and plywood templates.
Saffrons Boardshorts $7.99
Number 84 October 1977, page 6.

 Bob McTavish : Ace in the Hole : The Asymmetric Story.
Seanotes August/Septerber 1978  pages 38  - 39.
Bob McTavish : A Decade of Design
Tracks January 1980
Magazine Articles About Bob McTavish
1. Eccentrics SW
2.Interview SW 1972
3.Paul Gross :  in Surfer magazine
4. Australian Surfers Journal

Tracks, May 1973.
 Magazine Advertisements Featuring Bob McTavish

Film (Appearances)
Hot Generation 1968
The Inner Limits of Pure Fun  1970
From  Thoms: Surf Movies  (2000)
McTavish, Bob:
Hyams Publishing.
PO Box 171 Huskisson, NSW 2540, 2009.
Hard cover, 431 pages, black and white photographs, Some of My Friends, Glossary, Index.
Bob McTavish's enthusiasm for surfing, and life generally, permeate Stoked!, covering his surfing career up to 1968, which leaves open the possibility of a further volume covering the next 40 years.
While the formative years in Queensland as a member of Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club are highly interesting, for the reader who has closely followed McTavish's numerous media contributions, many of the stories from the 1960s are extremely familiar.
Indeed, in some cases their re-telling here seems to lack some of the freshness evident in the original versions.
As expected, there are some minor errors in dates or spelling (Milner, not Millner, page 38) and a tendency to somewhat overstate the author's impact on the surfing industry.
This is evident in the account of the Vee bottom board during 1967 (Part 8) - Midget Farrelly had already established the "lightweight" stringerless as an industry standard by 1966 and he played a major role in the radical reduction in board lengths.
In 1973, McTavish wrote: "At the same time Midget's shop at Palm Beach was running stiff competition with us at Keyo's. As we'd cut 2" off, Midget would cut 4" off, then vice versa."
Significantly, he rejects the commonly held myth that his and Nat Young's plus nine foot V-bottom surfboards taken to Hawaii in December 1967 initiated the Short Board Revolution (pages 383 to 396).

McTavish, Bob:
More Stoked!
Harper Collins
Level 13201 Elizabeth street, Sydney, NSW 2000, 2013.
Soft cover,
533 pages, black and white and monochrome photographs, Appendix.
More Stoked! does not continue directly on from the earlier book, but reprises some of that work in sections one up to about five or six, and unfortunately, the tendency to overstate the author's impact on the surfing industry is again in evidence.
Also, many of the photographs are printed on a grey-blue paper which substantially diminishes their clarity.

.#9p Bob
          McTavish Tri fin, Bennett's Factory 1971
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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (1999 - 2020) : Surfer : Bob McTavish.